Twenty years after the ‘Washington Principles’ were first published, museums throughout the world continue to be committed to check the origin of their holdings and establish if unlawfully acquired works of art are included in their collections.
The Münchner Stadtmuseum is similarly committed to meeting this obligation. Initially, from 2011 until 2015, a research project was established for this period in cooperation with the Department for Provenance Research in Berlin. Up until 2015, within the framework of this project, a start was made on systematically examining the Münchner Stadtmuseum’s acquisition policy between 1933 and 1945.
The results of this research project were presented to the general public in the exhibition ‘“Ehem. jüdischer Besitz” – Erwerbungen des Münchner Stadtmuseums im Nationalsozialismus’ (‘Formerly Jewish Property’ – Acquisitions by the Münchner Stadtmuseum during the Nazi Era), held from April 2018 until January 2019. As examples, several cases of acquisitions made were described in both the exhibition and the catalogue. The fates of the respective families were also traced in connection with the history of the museum and placed within a historical context.
In addition to essays on the history and acquisition policy of the Münchner Stadtmuseum and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, as well as on the holdings of works of art within the Federal Republic of Germany as a whole, the catalogue also includes detailed information on the fates of the families of Siegfried Lämmle, Heinrich Rothschild, Julius Schülein, Lehmann Bernheimer, Albert Hackelsberger and Maria Luiko.
In December 2017 a permanent, part-time position was established at the Münchner Stadtmuseum to continue research work on its holdings. Since then, provenance research and documentation work on the musuem are being systematically carried out and expanded.